20-seiki sh˘nen: Honkaku kagaku b˘ken eiga (20th Century Boys 1: Beginning of the End)
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20-seiki sh˘nen: Honkaku kagaku b˘ken eiga (20th Century Boys 1: Beginning of the End)
A burned-out rocker discovers his doom-struck adolescent fantasies are coming true in this futuristic thriller from Japan. Ever since his career as a musician crashed and burned, Kenji (Toshiaki Karasawa) has been making a living working at a quick-stop store and living with his family. One day, police officers stop by and ask Kenji about a family of regular customers who've gone missing, though Kenji has hardly noticed their absence. When Kenji visits the home of the missing family, he notices a strange piece of graffiti on the wall, and is startled when he remembers it was the symbol of… More
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 33%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"The ideas are fun, there are some striking design ideas (the villain's commonplace-yet-freaky mask), yet the clogged storytelling just doesn't make enough of them. Shame."
‑ Trevor Johnston, Time Out
"We're being reminded of the banality of evil, but that only slightly raises the IQ of Yukihiko Tsutsumi's film."
‑ Edward Porter, Sunday Times (UK)
"The original may have sold 20m copies but they should have kept creator Naoki Urasawa away from this script - whole swathes ought have been gutted, making for a very long and unfailingly shallow 142 minutes."
‑ Cath Clarke, Guardian
"It's mildly interesting but inelegantly structured, unfolding through a mess of flashbacks and shocking overacting."
‑ Wendy Ide, Times [UK]
"Tsutsumi...dazzles us with so many balls in the air, so many twists and turns, that there is not enough room left for his characters to develop as believable, interesting people, as opposed to comicbook archetypes."
‑ Anton Bitel, Eye for Film
"The dramatic premise is ingenious and there are two future lengthy episodes to come. But I was often baffled."
‑ Philip French, Observer [UK]
"Headache-inducingly convoluted plot and cast of characters but the action and faithfulness to the series is impressive. Be aware that this is definitely a trilogy and the ending reflects this."
‑ Justin Bowyer, Empire Magazine
"Director of all trades Tsutsumi combines eyeball straining pop-promo visuals with the TV drama look that has blighted a lot of recent Japanese cinema, but deserves kudos for juggling timelines and characters so effectively."
‑ Rob Daniel, Sky Movies
"Not quite science fiction and as surreal a conspiratorial epic as you'll find, this dense thriller has a distinctively Japanese sensibility."
‑ Sean Axmaker, Seanax.com
"20th Century Boys has an excellent pedigree, a huge budget behind it, and a more than competent cast -but it doesn't quite work."
‑ Jon Williams, Little White Lies
"A dry run through of the principle players and scene setting for the real action and adventure to come in installments two and three of this manga based trilogy."
‑ Holly Grigg-Spall, Film4
"20th Century Boys whisks wacko cults, city-stomping robots and the power of rock'n'roll into a bizarre brew that will delight converts but possibly bewilder the uninitiated."
‑ Matt Mueller, Total Film